If you’ve played in IDP leagues for any amount of time (or read this column here at Fantasy Sharks), then you’ve probably heard of the “rookie corner rule.”
If you haven’t, I’ll break it down for you. Basically, the rookie corner rule states that first-year cornerbacks have significant IDP value in leagues that require them because rookies at that position tend to struggle—in large part because opposing quarterbacks target them with regularity. Each of those targets (if completed) is an opportunity for IDP production.
In Week 6, Byron Murphy of the Arizona Cardinals is the poster boy for the rookie corner rule.
To be fair, as Scott Bordow reported for The Athletic, Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury has been impressed by the play of the first pick of the second round in the 2019 NFL draft.
“He’s been game to everything and hasn’t blinked, so that’s encouraging for us,” Kingsbury said. “We know there are going to be some ups and downs and there’s some dynamic players he’s going to be asked to cover that it’s going to be tough, but I believe he’s up for the challenge mentally and will keep getting better.”
Murphy’s a talented young corner with a bright future—he was the No. 1 prospect at the position on some big boards entering the draft. But he’s been victimized quite a bit in coverage this year—he’s allowed over 64 percent of the passes thrown his way to be completed and has a passer rating against of over 110. Last week against the Bengals, Murphy allowed seven catches for 54 yards on nine targets—and finished the game with a season-high nine total tackles and eight solos.
Sunday in Glendale, Murphy faces a pass-heavy Atlanta Falcons offense that has surrendered the fourth-most fantasy points per game to cornerbacks in 2019. That makes this a great week to put the rookie corner rule to work for your IDP squad.
If Murphy’s not available in your CB-required IDP league, here are some other streaming options at the position to consider in Week 6.
Marlon Humphrey, Baltimore Ravens (vs. CIN)
Unlike many of the cornerbacks who make appearances in this column, Humphrey’s having a pretty good season for a Ravens defense that has otherwise struggled—his passer rating against ranks inside the top-20 among NFL corners who have been targeted 20 or more times this year. As Jamison Hensley reported for ESPN, that hasn’t gone unnoticed by head coach John Harbaugh.
“He has played at a very high level, but he’ll be the first to tell you that he needs to play better,” Harbaugh said. “He wants to play better, and he works hard to play better. The best players think that way. He has that kind of a mindset. So, we’ll determine that at the end of the year.”
Humphrey’s tackle numbers haven’t been especially impressive, but he’s salvaged some IDP value with an interception and a pair of forced fumbles. Humphrey will spend Week 6 facing the reeling Bengals, who sport both the fifth-most targeted wide receiver in the NFL (Tyler Boyd) and the third-most giveaways (10) in the league.
Dre Kirkpatrick, Cincinnati Bengals (at BAL)
It’s been a long, dark start to the season for the 0-5 Bengals. And as the losses pile up and with no turnaround in sight, Kirkpatrick admitted to reporters (via Chris Roling of Bengals Wire) that all the losing is starting to weigh on him.
“This is the most frustrated I’ve probably been since I’ve been here,” he said. “It’s not about an individual, it’s not about me or not about A.J. (Green) or Andy (Dalton) or anything like that, it’s about this team, these fans and the community, what we stand for…it hurts.”
Now in his eighth NFL season, Kirkpatrick is one of the elder statesmen of the Cincinnati defense and a veteran corner who has shown the ability to be a productive IDP option in the past—he had a season-high eight total tackles last week and has at least five solos in every game this year. However, despite top-five production through five games this year and a top-10 fantasy matchup with the Baltimore Ravens in Week 6, I was able to add Kirkpatrick in more than one CB-required IDP league this week.
Emmanuel Moseley, San Francisco 49ers (at LAR)
Moseley made his first NFL start last week against the Cleveland Browns, and while it didn’t show up in the stat sheet the undrafted second-year pro from Tennessee played well. As Doug Williams reported for NBC Sports Bay Area, that may have been because Moseley isn’t at all overwhelmed by the idea of starting in the NFL.
“It’s all of it,” teammate Richard Sherman said. “It’s his feistiness, it’s his decision-making, it’s his press, it’s his confidence, it’s his movement and his ability to move, his lateral quickness, his straight-line speed. He’d honestly tell you he’s probably the fastest one on the team, and he knows (former Olympian) Marquise (Goodwin) is on the team. And you can appreciate that. Obviously, I don’t think he’s beating Marquise, but you know, he’d tell you otherwise. He’s a guy that can play this game at a high level and I don’t think he’s going to shy away from any challenge.”
Last week, Moseley and the 49ers faced a Cleveland offense that’s coming apart at the seams. Sunday in Los Angeles it’s arguably the deepest wideout corps in the NFL, the quarterback with the fourth-most passing yards and third-most passing attempts in the league, and a desperate Rams team giving up the sixth-most fantasy points to cornerbacks in 2019.